It’s no secret that peanuts are one of the tastiest, most convenient snacks around. You may also have heard that they’re great for your heart and blood vessels.1, 2 But what you might not realize is that peanuts have a host of other health benefits, as well.3 Here are six you should know about.

Curbing Your Appetite

Adding a handful of peanuts or a smear of peanut butter to your meals or snacks keeps you feeling full for longer.4 Peanuts are rich in protein, fiber, and healthy kinds of fat3—a combo that promotes the body’s release of appetite-suppressing hormones.4 In one study, women who included peanut butter in their breakfasts said they felt less hungry eight to 12 hours afterward.4

Managing Your Weight

By curbing your appetite, peanuts may affect your eating behavior.4 It’s no surprise that studies show peanuts can be part of a successful weight-loss plan.3, 5 Ideally, they should replace less healthy foods rather than simply being added to what you’re already eating.6

Warding off Diabetes

People who frequently eat nuts have a decreased risk of developing type 2 diabetes1—a chronic condition in which blood sugar levels stay too high.8 Researchers are investigating possible reasons. One possibility: Eating peanuts helps prevent a short-term spike in blood sugar after a meal. Repeated over time, that may be beneficial for long-term blood sugar control.7

Reducing Cancer Risk

Peanuts contain several compounds—including resveratrol, genistein, and inositol phosphates—that show promise as cancer-fighting agents.9 That may explain why frequently eating nuts, including peanuts, has been tied to a decreased risk of dying from any cancer.10, 11

Now researchers are homing in on how specific types of cancer may be impacted. For example, recent research shows that eating more nuts and peanuts may be tied to a lower risk of getting a particular form of stomach cancer called gastric non-cardia adenocarcinoma.17

Protecting Your Brain

The resveratrol in peanuts may have another key benefit: helping you stay mentally sharp as you age.3 In one study, postmenopausal women who took resveratrol supplements for 14 weeks improved their verbal memory and overall performance on cognitive tests.12 Other nutrients in peanuts that may be protective for your brain include vitamin E and niacin.3

Preventing Gallstones

Finally, research shows that eating peanuts regularly may lower your risk of getting gallstones14—pebble-like masses that form in the gallbladder.13 Gallstones that are painful or cause complications13 are often treated with surgery to remove the gallbladder.15 One study showed that frequently eating nuts, including peanuts, was associated with a reduced risk of needing such surgery.16

The more you know about peanuts, the more amazing they seem. Every day, scientists are learning more about the health benefits of these little nutritional powerhouses. We’ll be keeping you posted on the latest news, so stay tuned!

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Resources

  1. “Nut Consumption and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease.” M. Guasch-Ferré et al. Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 2017, vol. 70, no. 20, pp. 2519-32.
  2. “Acute Peanut Consumption Alters Postprandial Lipids and Vascular Responses in Healthy Overweight or Obese Men.” X. Liu et al. Journal of Nutrition. 2017, vol. 147, no. 5, pp. 835–40.
  3. “Peanuts as Functional Food: A Review.” S.S. Arya et al. Journal of Food Science and Technology. 2016, vol. 53, no. 1, pp. 31-41.
  4. “Acute and Second-Meal Effects of Peanuts on Glycaemic Response and Appetite in Obese Women with High Type 2 Diabetes Risk: A Randomised Cross-Over Clinical Trial.” C.E.G. Reis et al. British Journal of Nutrition. 2013, vol. 109, pp. 2015-23.
  5. “A Randomized Controlled Trial to Evaluate the Effect of Incorporating Peanuts Into an American Diabetes Association Meal Plan on the Nutrient Profile of the Total Diet and Cardiometabolic Parameters of Adults with Type 2 Diabetes.” M. Wien et al. Nutrition Journal. 2014, vol. 13, article no. 10.
  6. “The Addition of Peanuts to Habitual Diets Is Associated with Lower Consumption of Savory Non-Core Snacks by Men and Sweet Non-Core Snacks by Women.” J.A. Barour et al. Nutrition Research. 2017, vol. 41, pp. 65-72.
  7. “Nuts and Dried Fruits: An Update of Their Beneficial Effects on Type 2 Diabetes.” Nutrients. 2017, vol. 9, no. 7, article no. E673.
  8. “What Is Diabetes?” National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health. niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/what-is-diabetes.
  9. “Cancer Chemoprevention with Nuts.” M. Falasca et al. Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 2014, vol. 106, no. 9, article no. dju238.
  10. “Association of Nut Consumption with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality.” Y. Bao et al. New England Journal of Medicine. 2013, vol. 369, pp. 2001-11.
  11. “Relationship of Tree Nut, Peanut and Peanut Butter Intake with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality: A Cohort Study and Meta-analysis.” P.A. van den Brandt and L.J. Schouten. International Journal of Epidemiology. 2015, vol. 44, no. 3, pp. 1038-49.
  12. “Effects of Resveratrol on Cognitive Performance, Mood and Cerebrovascular Function in Post-menopausal Women: A 14-Week Randomised Placebo-Controlled Intervention Trial.” H.M. Evans et al. Nutrients. 2017, vol. 9, article no. 27.
  13. “Definition & Facts for Gallstones.” National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health. niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/gallstones/definition-facts.
  14. “A Prospective Cohort Study of Nut Consumption and the Risk of Gallstone Disease in Men.” C.-J. Tsai et al. American Journal of Epidemiology. 2004, vol. 160, no. 10, pp. 961-68.
  15. “Treatment for Gallstones.” National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health. niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/gallstones/treatment.
  16. “Frequent Nut Consumption and Decreased Risk of Cholecystectomy in Women.” C.-J. Tsai et al. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2004, vol. 80, pp. 76-81.
  17. “Tree Nut, Peanut, and Peanut Butter Consumption and the Risk of Gastric and Esophageal Cancer Subtypes: The Netherlands Cohort Study.” L. Nieuwenhuis and P.A. van den Brandt. Gastric Cancer. March 28, 2018, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10120-018-0821-2.